The Chicago Cubs are the top-scoring team in baseball in the first inning.
Unfortunately for the 2022 Cubs, baseball games are still nine innings. Today’s was also over four hours long, so we got to taste the flavor of stank for all the longer.
Swept. That string of four straight series wins (and five of six) just ended with the loudest possible thud – a 5-0 lead in the first inning … blown (and 8-3 lead in the third inning … blown). And I’m not super interested in hearing about how all four games in the series were “competitive” against a great team in their house. It was not a great series. Let it be that.
Drew Smyly was not sharp in his return outing – the sinker stayed up, and the curveball was too often non-competitive down. He was too frequently falling behind, and getting hammered when he came back into the zone. The same was true for Dodgers starter Julio Urias, by the way, but the Dodgers got slightly better performances from their innings eaters (and defense) than the Cubs. I would expect the Dodgers to call this one an “ugly” win, but it’s a win. And it was uglier on the Cubs’ side
Anderson Espinoza did reasonably well to get through three innings, by the way, but he was kind of a mess. He could barely keep the fastball in the strike zone, but he had to start leaning on it almost exclusively because he threw ONE of his fourteen sliders in the strike zone (a foul ball). Literally one. He needs that slider to be exceptional if he’s going to succeed in a big league relief role, so for it to be unusable today was concerning. He seems the most likely candidate to head back when Justin Steele returns from the paternity list.
Nice to see the dingers from P.J. Higgins, David Bote, and Nelson Velazquez, and it’s hard to grouse about the offense on a day they put up a nine spot.